South Lanarkshire Council plans to axe the additional support needs unit for pupils at Cathkin High School have been met with anger.
A representative from the West Coats parent council attended last Tuesday’s meeting of Cambuslang Community Council to voice their concerns over the council move.
The local authority are investigating the possibility of closing the unit, and possibly integrating the youngsters into Rutherglen High School, which shares a campus with Cathkin High. South Lanarkshire are considering replacing it with a unit to help youngsters of secondary age with autism.
Speaking at the community council meeting, a spokesman for the parent council said that they were unhappy with the plans to close the additional support needs for learning base, which will affecting future Cathkin pupils.
The concerned parent said that they had initially been led to believe that if the local authority went through with the move, the unit could close at the end of the summer term, but South Lanarkshire have confirmed they will not be doing this.
A spokesperson for South Lanarkshire Council said: “Education resources keep under review at all times the provision for pupils with additional support needs across the council, as it does for all pupils. As part of continuing development of provision, we have been considering options for further autism specific provision at the secondary stage in the Rutherglen/Cambuslang area.
“One of the possibilities under consideration has been to review the utilisation of the Cathkin High additional support needs base gradually over a period of years to decrease the number of additional support needs children in the base. Those children currently attending would not be affected.
“This proposal would enable children with ASD, for whom there is currently no specific secondary provision in Rutherglen/Cambuslang, to be accommodated in the Cathkin base, rather than in other areas of South Lanarkshire.
“Children identified in the future with additional support needs could, depending on their needs, be accommodated either in Rutherglen High School, which shares a campus with Cathkin High School, so that pupils could attend Cathkin’s mainstream classes where appropriate, as happens now with children currently attending the base; or in their local own mainstream secondary schools with appropriate support, as happens increasingly across South Lanarkshire’s secondary schools, promoting increasing inclusion.
“No decision has been taken by the council at this stage. Discussions will continue with the stakeholders involved including parents as we are keen to ensure that those children currently attending Cathkin additional support needs base would not be affected. As always our aim is to provide for the individual needs of children in educational settings that will enable them to develop their potential.”
Cambuslang West Labour councillor Russell Clearie said: “The consultation is an ongoing process, and I have been speaking with members of the parent council, and the head teacher Anne Marie McNair. The more consultation and dialogue we have, the better, for everyone concerned, and hopefully we can all drive this forwards together and find a positive conclusion.”